VICTORIA, B.C. - Sonia Furstenau, MLA for Cowichan Valley, welcomed the government’s review of the professional reliance model announced by Environment Minister George Heyman.
“I’m thrilled to stand with Minister Heyman today as he announces that the government is launching a review of this system that has failed so many communities across British Columbia,” said Furstenau.
“Before professional reliance, government relied on independent in-house experts to conduct environmental assessments to ensure the health and safety of B.C.’s communities. Under professional reliance, the responsibility for this necessary due diligence has been shifted to industry. While qualified professionals are absolutely integral to the environmental assessment process, professional reliance as it stands lends itself to conflict of interest as proponents of projects receive no independent oversight when conducting these vital assessments.
“In Shawnigan we saw firsthand how the uncertainty created by professional reliance erodes trust. The geologists hired to assess the safety of the contaminated soil facility adjacent to our community’s drinking water had a profit-sharing deal and would have benefitted from the project going ahead.
“Resource development has been the backbone of many B.C. communities. It is essential that resource development be done with the support and confidence of the communities in which it occurs. By ensuring that people have trust in government and in industry to protect their health and safety, we can build thriving local economies that will sustain for the long-term.
“I am deeply proud that this review was prompted by its provision in the Confidence and Supply Agreement signed between the B.C. Green and the B.C. NDP caucus. This demonstrates how two parties working together in a minority government can truly put the interests of the people first. I look forward to supporting this review in any way I can.”
Jillian Oliver, Press Secretary
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